A van driver who was caught texting and with no hands on the steering wheel is one the 23 drivers caught breaking the law by police last week.

Northumbria Police carried out patrols along the A1 during an undercover operation aimed at keeping the North East's roads safe.

Operation Tramline ran between Monday, February 22 and Thursday, February 25, and saw officers riding in an HGV to look out for drivers committing traffic offences.

During the operation, officers caught a van driver with his mobile in one hand and a water bottle in the other.

Some drivers were stopped by the specially-adapted HGV and reported for using a mobile phone behind the wheel. Other motorists were stopped for speeding, driving with no insurance and running red lights.

Officers also conducted routine stops with drivers to check the conditions of the vehicles and ensure all documentation was in order.

Sergeant Jane Munro, of Northumbria Police’s Motor Patrols Department, called on everyone to play their part in keeping the roads safe.

She said: “We take no pleasure from taking action against these motorists but we hope this type of enforcement will help influence their future behaviour and send a wider message to drivers.

“Our patrols on our region’s highways will continue and we will be using the HGV again at a number of future dates throughout the year.

“However, we are always out and about conducting work like this whether we have the HGV or not – the message is simple, drive responsibly and play your part in keeping our roads safe.”

As a result of the operation, six drivers have been summoned to court, nine issued with fixed penalty notices, five sent on Driver Education Courses and three given verbal warnings.